Memory solution addressing power and security problems in embedded designs

October 29, 2012 //By Andre Hassan
Memory solution addressing power and security problems in embedded designs
Andre Hassan of Kilopass outlines a memory solution addressing power and security problems in embedded designs.

Wireless monitoring devices and digital wallets are creating a new category of battery-powered system on chip (SoC) designs. With embedded processing capability and wireless connectivity, these SoCs demand months or years of operation without recharge or battery swap. This article will examine the memory requirements—static RAM (SRAM), read only (ROM), and non-volatile memory (NVM)—of these SoCs and offer an innovative solution to accommodate the new constraints of this category of design.

The world market for remote monitoring services was worth more than $29 billion in 2011, equivalent to $2.4 billion in recurring monthly revenues (RMR) across the year, according to the IMS Research's report “The World Market for Remote Monitoring Service – 2012 Edition” 1.  The Wellingborough, England, Research Firm estimated that, in the same year, 54 million customer locations were provided with services such as alarm and remote video monitoring, physical access control and fire detection, and Personal Emergency Response Services. IMS Research also states that 14 million wearable devices were shipped in 2011 and the market is on track to generate a minimum revenue opportunity of $6 billion by 2016 in its "World Market for Wearable Technology—A Quantitative Market Assessment—2012" 2 report.

Mobile financial transactions have experienced fits and start as financial institutions battled communications service providers and handset suppliers over who would do what. However, in the report, “Mobile Financial Services—A Technology and Market Analysis,” 3 research firm Frost & Sullivan states that near field communications (NFC)-based mobile commerce is approaching a tipping point, thanks to more NFC-enabled mobile devices and growing partnerships between telecom service providers and financial institutions. These partnerships encourage semiconductor vendors, mobile device manufacturers, and mobile operators to proliferate more NFC-enabled mobile devices to the market.

Emerging design constraints
Two critical design elements will influence the functionality of wireless devices providing remote monitoring and financial transactions. Foremost is power as users will expect these devices to be always performing their tasks. Just

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